On Sept. 30, Jon Schroder, a professional stained glass artist, gave a stained glass demo and a lecture regarding the business side of art. The demonstration was absolutely magical. Schroder showed attendees his tool kit including various glass cutters, completed pieces, strips of various metals, and other tools all being displayed and showcased with their own time. He made a point to illustrate how much he loves the ball-ended, teeth glass cutters to the point of getting one tattooed on his arm. He switched to a pencil-style glass cutter while working his apprenticeship due to it being easier to cut glass with, but still collects the older glass cutters for a memory.
While Schroder talked about his equipment, many attendees were overwhelmed with the amount of precision that goes into intentionally cutting each piece of glass to make a whole piece. He showcased a piece featuring cherry blossoms on a branch that was made of one sheet of glass and absolutely no mistakes could be made or the whole piece would be ruined. A steady hand with a clear conscious could only make cuts that precise. He also noted how the seams making up the branch was just solder making a stick-like texture. It’s his own technique totally unique to Schroder. Someone described him as a “Glass Wizard”. Many agreed.
After a 30–minute break, we had a very intimate six-person discussion about running a small art business. There was a heavy emphasis on charging the correct price for your work and figuring out how to price your work. For example, Schroder charges by the square foot and the price range depends on intricacy. He usually charges $150-$250 a square foot. He also placed importance on getting out of your trade’s social circle and stepping into new ones for example, someone with a wonderful pie shop could bring extra clientele to your art-centric business.
Schroder is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and established his stained glass shop Cobalt Glassworks in 2010. His shop mostly focuses on custom orders and repairs, but he sells premade pieces as well. When not working in his shop, Schroder is teaching stained glass classes to both high schoolers and college students. To see more of his work, you can visit his Instagram at @cobaltglassworks.